Sept. 2, 2022

Highland Cow

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This podcast episode we talk about the Highland Cow! Relax, unwind, and join me in the grasslands of Scotland, where we learn all about the gentle "hairy coos".


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hello everyone welcome back to relax with animal facts I am staff wolf and today I am going to be learning with you about our furry scaly or possibly even slimy friends and in today's case it is definitely going to be a furry friend of ours because we are covering the %HESITATION so wonderful highland cattle also known as the Scottish highland cattle this of course is a very very special listener episode dedicated to Katie to Jenna and two Silas who actually requested a slightly different Calvin all be sure to give Silas a shout out again but many suggestions were of a broad general cal and so I didn't want to count anybody out I hope you all enjoy your very own episode and if any of you have a cal or any other animal that you would love to learn about that you find cool you can send a message to the Instagram relax with animal facts you can go to the website relax with animal facts dot com and go to the animal request tab and lastly you could always email relax with animal facts at the G. mail dot com your suggestions mean the world and you get your very own episodes for doing so before we start treading through the beautiful grass of the Scottish Highlands this episode is actually a very special one after a hundred and nine episodes so this is the one hundred and ten episode officially we have the very first sponsor of the show I've been quite picky and have declined a few sponsorship offers until now but the cozy earth was kind enough to reach out and after giving some of their sheets or try and seeing what they're all about I can genuinely say that their stuff rocks they make really high quality lounge wear and bedding which is perfect when we're learning about her animal friends from our pillows and their stuff is made from one hundred percent viscose from bamboo which is very sustainable and also softer than anything I've ever felt it took me awhile to actually make my bed with them because I kept stopping to feel how incredibly softer they were their lounge wear and they're betting is also very very breathable which makes for one of the most comfortable night's sleep I've had so they have a one hundred nights sleep test so if you don't love listening to animal facts from your dream cloud after a hundred nights you can send it back for a full refund and because the earth was really generous and giving it a thirty five percent off coupon on everything on their website specifically for you guys which is over a hundred Bucks off of their bamboo sheet set so the website is cozy earth dot com C. O. C. Z. Y. E. A. R. T. H. dot com thank you cozy earth for supporting the show so I'm just going to say where I caught my facts from before we dive right into the episode I got my facts from highland titles dot com animalia dot the bio eagle grey dot co dot UK and lastly as always at him online dot com all of those resources are in the show notes with a description of this episode so if you would like to learn more they are all there for your exploration I would like for all of you to notice maybe where you're carrying some tension is it in the neck is it in the arms maybe in the lakes some of you who listen to this podcast with somebody else might notice that it's almost never the the same between the two of you in my case today it's in my hands and my forearms as it always is but we don't really need all of that tension where we are going to encourage you to relax those parts of your body right alongside me as we go into this immersive experience into the Scottish grasslands where the highland cow resides %HESITATION %HESITATION %HESITATION I can't describe how excited I am to be leading you through the Scottish Highlands today as many of you know Scotland is a place near and dear to my heart as a place of profound and rich history as well as major contributions to things like law and economics the highland counters is one more reason for us to love Scotland so the highland cow is a very hardy breed at the top of the show when we said that they are a furry friend of ours I was not at all kidding I suppose there would be more of a hairy friend of ours but that doesn't sound as good but they have really long hair and a double coat of hair which is particularly unusual it has this very downy undercoat underneath with an outside layer of hair that is the really oily and shiny part and they have the longest hair of any cattle breed in the world these hairy cattle also are incredibly large as well the bulls meaning the mail highland cow will weigh up to one thousand seven hundred and sixty pounds on average that's about eight hundred kilograms and because we are in Scotland that one thousand seven hundred and sixty pounds is equal to one hundred and twenty five point seven stone if we are walking the meadows in Scotland we might as well also use some of their units of measurement the council or the females will weigh about six hundred pounds less on average at around one thousand one hundred pounds or seventy eight point seven stone and perhaps this is one of the reasons that their milk generally has a high butterfat content their distinctive long hair that makes them look like giant horned teddy bears keeps them very warm in the winter time from the sometimes harsh weather of the highlands it also protects their eyes from flies and maybe some other things that might be poking out from the brush or from the undergrowth this is just all around a piece of hairy kevlar but this hair that doubles as a piece of armor also is what makes them so popular as a cattle breed and with their hair swayed all over the place one wonders if they can even see because of how much hair is blocking their eyes the hair will generally get shorter in the summertime and when they are bred in different climates in which it might be a bit more temperate it will not grow as long so this long hair will also mean that they won't have the need to store so much waste fat that you'll find in many other breeds of cattle we always imagine a kind of ginger color or a brownish color but originally they were actually black just as we have bred a certain dogs to look a kind of way the Victorians who liked the ginger cal's selectively bred them to the point that ginger all of a sudden became these very standard Scottish highland cattle color that we all associate with this magnificent creature and depending on the return there are some highland cal's that can be seen in colors like red yellow silver brindle and done so those two brindle and done are similar in terms that they look sort of reddish with black it is just a difference in patterning but suffice to say that there are many different colors of the highland cattle out there and one fun fact is that they are the oldest registered breed of cattle in the world they are not number two they're not number three they are indeed taking the gold medal as the oldest registered breed so not only do we have an animal that is unique in the physical characteristics we have an animal that is very historically sensitive this animal is an intimate part of human history cattle in general have been our companions for a long time but the highland cattle in particular gives us a very unique look into an animal that has enriched the lives of many Scotsman and others through the generations and speaking of history why don't we just go back into it a little bit so as we are scrolling through the remarkably green grasslands let us also tread down memory lane a little bit into the history of the highland cow the oldest recorded history we have of the highland cal begins in the sixth century A. D. meaning the five hundreds they go back as far as we can tell to the sixth century A. D. while the first written references to the highland cattle date to the twelfth century A. D. so as far back as the five hundreds about fifteen hundred years ago while the written references to them or in the eleven hundreds about nine hundred years ago it is still a matter of debate among some whether they had their origins in Scotland or if they were actually imported from Scandinavia around the time when the Vikings were invading Great Britain so this ancient breed of cattle is still under some dispute and controversy in terms of where they actually came from the most accepted view was that the highland cal was the result of blending to ancient Asiatic breeds known as boss longer Franz and boasts premium Genuss now both of these breeds had migrated from the Far East and from Mongolia to the region of the Black Sea one of them gave the Longhorns and to the other the wonderful hairy coat that the sport so fashionably but fast forwarding to the eighteenth century that's the seventeen hundreds thousands and thousands of beautiful highland cattle grazed upon the forests and hills of stress B. and in the summer they would be taken up into the high Cory's where herdsmen would stay in these temporary buildings on the hills to look after them as they grazed and enjoyed the altitude one fact that may be a fact or it might be a legend which legends tell us much still of what his true Queen Victoria is said to have commented on a trip to the highlands that she preferred the red colored cattle and in an effort to to please the queen they began that selective breeding process to get more of that reddish color that we see today so we might have Queen Victoria to thank for the fluffy ginger highland cow we see so often today now apart from the highlands of Scotland they can also be found in the south of Scotland in other parts of you Europe as well as in north and South America and Australia they can even be found foraging up in the Andes mountains thousands of feet above sea level so if you are having a harder time tracking down one of these columns in Scotland you only need to ask one of the locals where the nearest Henrik who is a very affectionate distinction that the locals have made for their fluffy friends the highland cattle will live within a hierarchical system where individuals are ranked on different factors now we see this in quite a many species I cannot actually think of a species that is commonly found in groups that doesn't have one but the emails will generally lead the calves born from the top ranking highland cows will automatically get a higher position in the herd so even the highland cal's seem to prefer a kind of aristocracy which is kind of funny friendly behavior between the animals will look like licking and play fighting the %HESITATION strong grazers and very skilful when they are foraging for food and during even the winter months they will dig through the snow layers with their impressive horns to get to the vegetation and these horns will not only serve for digging but when encountering some kind of a creditor they are able to defend themselves so they have this kind of dual purpose a group of highland county is known as a herd drove yoke team drift or mauled so there are a couple of different names for a group of these guys and I cannot believe I almost forgot the scientific name of the highland cow is the boss Taurus Taurus highland cows have mainly been kept historically for milk and for meet their milk can have a butter fat content of up to ten percent naturally which some farmers seem to love but some say it is an acquired taste but a lot of farmers prefer to keep these hairy coups specifically for meat the station for the highland cow is about nine months and yields one single offspring when they are born they are able to quickly stand and walk and even recognize their mother and the mother cal will be very very devoted to raising its young nursing them for about six months before they are mostly grown up they will however first give birth at around the age of two to three and are able to have more cal babies up to nineteen years of age one interesting difference between the bull and the cow or between the male and female highland cattle is their horns the bulls or the emails of the highland cattle will often have horns grow for words and slightly downwards having a much wider base whereas the cal or the female highland cattle will have horns that goal more upwards and are longer and finer at the tip then the wider tips of the bull's horns so there is a way to tell them apart even though they have these huge horns they are indeed very friendly of course unless very immediately threatened they have a very good reputation for their meek temperament and have historically always been a very domicile creature they are very rarely seen to show aggression and are generally very low stress animals even within their herds having a great understanding between one another and never really fighting they also seem to enjoy the company of humans approaching them as they're walking to try to close the gap and get maybe some pets or some sort of affection they will spend about eight hours per day grazing and are able to eat up to one hundred and fifty pounds or seventy kilograms of grass again that is just under eleven stone of grass and as long as this creature has access to plenty of fresh water they will thrive they will eat almost anything if it has some form of food or nutritional value that includes things like honeysuckle vines tree leaves and poison ivy they are not at all picky they would Munch away and thrive in pastures that would be very poorly suited to many other cattle that would have a very hard time surviving and to this day after all of our history together with the highland cow we are not entirely sure if they can actually see where they're going maybe they have some form of a really good vision or other senses that her heightened but they know where to go even with the long fringe or as it is known in technical terms the Dawson blocking the way of their vision these counts just seem to be very chill relaxed and %HESITATION just want to drink and eat and wonder the wonderful meadows that they are in these cattle are and credibly relaxed and just want access to fresh water and is much greens as they can Munch on let us go to the last fact of the episode which is the name what does this creature's name mean or what does it come from we are actually doing two words today one of them is highland so this word highland comes from an Old English word that means mountainous country and the highlands mountainous district of Scotland was first recorded somewhere in the early fifteenth century the word cattle first goes back to the mid thirteenth century which actually didn't mean cal's but meant in general property of any kind it includes things like a land and money it only began to be limited to cal's in bowls in the late sixteenth century that word capital comes from the medieval Latin capitano which meant property or stock so that is where we get the word cattle from so the etymologies of these words highland and the cattle when literally transposed into modern day speech would mean mountainous country property and we can see just how much history is inter woven here in the name of our furry friend today so let us move on to the review portion of the episode in which I read a review from a very special listeners out there who rode in on apple podcasts and in today's episode we are reading a review from one to three Rone who wrote all the way from the United States of America and one two three roan writes it helps me calm down and I listen to it when I I am on road trips thank you one two three Rome for taking the time to write that review I am so happy that you like the show and that it can make your road trips more fun and that it helps you to relax and in today's case learn about very hairy cattle if the podcast helps you and you enjoy it leaving a review like Rome did is something that really impacts the show and it helps more and more listeners find the show and join us in the grasslands or indices or the mountains thank you all for joining me on today's episode what a wonderful creature if you want to learn about an animal that you find interesting and would like your very own episode make sure to send in your requests either by sending a message to relax with animal facts on Instagram going to relax with animal facts dot com and clicking on the animal request tab or by sending an email to relax with animal facts and to G. mail dot com if you want more of the relax with animal facts podcast on the patriarch we have learned about the dodo the mammoth and the Tasmanian tiger so far the extinct animal mini series is available exclusively on Petri on so you can go to the show notes if that interests you thank you all again for joining me on today's podcast episode I hope to see you on the next episode with the next animal take care